My name is Rudy Zeitlhofer and I am hoping to be elected as a Fort Frances trustee for the Rainy River District School Board.
My experience teaching in this board for 24 years is a huge asset. I have seen how the actions of this board have affected kids from inside the system.
I also have looked at things from the board level perspective. I attended every single board meeting for many years and closely observed the actions of trustees and administrators.
I have maintained my interest in the welfare of students and kept up with issues in education since my retirement from teaching.
My greatest strength is being an independent thinker. I make decisions based on what is best for students. I am not easily swayed or manipulated by others.
Should I be elected as a trustee, I see myself being an advocate for students. So often, issues at the board level are decided without any real consideration of what is best for students. That seems to be overlooked time and again as the adults make decisions for them.
One important thing the board can do is simply to listen. Listen to what students have to say. Right now, trustees only see or hear students in carefully-contrived conditions. The information trustees receive about our schools is carefully filtered.
I would like to see trustees listen to students, parents, and the people who work in our system. It is hard to solve problems one doesn't know anything about.
This board has lost its way and needs to be switched onto the right track. The board faces many challenges in a time of declining enrolment but the emphasis should still be on what's best for students.
We need more support for learning in the classroom, not outside of it. Funds provided by the government should be spent where they are intended, not diverted away from students.
For many years, this board repeatedly has eliminated jobs of those who interact with students on a daily basis. We have seen educational assistants continually being laid off or having their hours cut. Guidance counsellors, library workers, school secretaries, caretakers, and other educational workers see and interact with students all the time but their work is not valued.
Instead, resources are diverted to the board office, where jobs have mushroomed.
The best use of resources is in the schools; not on an isolated ivory tower where kids are seen only from a comfortable distance.